This may not be a typical InsteadBless post, then again, it just might be. I write this introductory disclaimer because of the challenging content…
What is my reason for writing this post then?
Truth be told, I am deeply wounded and horrified.
I read some news from Oregon that brought me to tears. My heart is still reeling from it. Since I live in South Africa, the only way I acquire news from the Pacific Northwest is if I search it out on the web. The South Africa on-line carriers rarely post any news from my home state.
If you are an Oregonian, or even living in the States some where, I am sure you are familiar with the recent, tragic death of six-year old London McCabe. His mother, Jillian McCabe, confessed to throwing her son, London, over the Yacquina Bay Bridge into the frigid ocean waters, hundreds of feet below.
You see? This is not a typical InsteadBless post.
So, what is the purpose of writing about this tragedy?
If you are my friend or a consistent reader of InsteadBless you know that I am the mother of two children on the autism spectrum. Jake and Caleb would be considered ‘high-functioning’ children with autism. John and I have worked tirelessly to help them find their groove in this world – speech therapy, occupational therapy, sensory integration development, coping skills instruction, executive functioning assistance, and lots and lots and lots of listening, coaching, loving, and praying. The last 13+ years, have been some of the most heartwarming, blessed, eye-opening, and, yes, challenging years of our lives.
I haven’t read much about Jillian McCabe. I don’t know her. I will probably never know her. However, I have gleaned some information from the news. How true, I do not know. Yet, I have read that she was struggling with the day to day needs of her husband, recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and her non-verbal, autistic son. In addition, she suffered with some sort of mental illness.
In my view, this family needed help.
Some would contend that London’s autism diagnosis and subsequent behavior was tragic.
Others would argue that Jillian’s mental illness was tragic.
Autism advocates would argue that London was the tragic victim and his death sentence undeserved.
Still others may sympathize with Jillian as her husband and child’s care giver as she reached a point of no return.
What do I say? And why should I even say anything? This is not my story to tell.
I have my own story, though.
I have two children on the autism spectrum.
In addition, I have family members and a friend who struggled with mental illness. Their incomprehensible pain overcame their passion and hope for life.
Although I have never struggled with mental illness or depression, I have loved ones who have. It was hell on earth for them. Thus, I believe that no mother in her right mind would ever harm her child. She descended and was entrapped in a hellish place and responded in a way that few of us may ever understand.
London did not deserve to die. With more research and study, with more time, with more therapy, with more family and community support, with more love, with more patience, with more creativity, and with the guidance and care of God, who knows what London might have become! And the same could be said for Jillian – her story, though, is still unfolding.
With my boys, they are growing, maturing, and becoming more of who God desires them to be every single day! It’s amazing to witness! And it’s gratifying to remember where we were once and where we are today! It’s a testament to our God and to so many who have loved our children and chosen to impact their lives in a significant way.
We are where we are because of the care, love, and hope we receive from our God and from our family and friends who have chosen to stand with us – come what may. We are heard and we are loved.
No, it is not easy to parent a child with special needs. Truth be told, there are days when we do not just take three steps backwards, but a huge leap; and I feel stuck in the muck of uncertainty and doubt. I cry out, “Are we making any headway at all, Lord?”
There was a situation yesterday, where I wondered, “What does the future hold for Jake, Lord? How are we going to help Jake get past his anxiety-producing behavior and its fall out?”
Sometimes, I am weary of working on the same issue with Jake over and over and over again. And yet, is Jake any different than any other child on this earth? Parents across the planet are most likely dealing with some issue or another with their kid over and over and over again – just like me.
And that is why I am writing this post today.
We really are not so different from one another. We all have our joys and we all have our struggles. Everyone has some kind of pain – some that are like a pin-prick and others that are more intense, piercing, and disabling– at one time or another. And because of our pain and our need, we all need to be heard.
Sadly, there is some kind of thinking out there that no one will understand our pain, our shame, and our struggle. We feel isolated and alone. We may feel we have to go it alone. We may even feel cursed and undeserving of assistance. (In our African context, a child with a disability is considered to be demonized or cursed. Many African families hide their disabled children in shame and their children never see the light of day.)
We may not know how to ask for help when we most desperately need it.
My dear friends and readers, please hear me on this. We cannot ignore or deny those that are hurting and in need of our help who are in our families, who are in our neighborhoods, who are in our workplaces or – who are us.
We are not meant to save them. This is the work of Jesus.
We are meant to love them.
We are meant to pray for them.
We are meant to show them the pathway to Grace, Compassion and Life.
We are meant to be Hope-Givers.
Yes, I am horrified that a precious, defenseless, and beautiful creation of God was allegedly murdered by his mother. Yet, this mother is a precious, defenseless, and beautiful creation of God as well. They needed our help. Now, it is too late to impact London’s life on this earth.
But it’s not too late to meet a need and show the love and compassion of Jesus Christ in our sphere of influence today.
Please Friends, ask your God to show you and lead you to some one who needs Him. I bet you may already know! We have been given the privilege to love and care in the Name of Jesus Christ – and, whether we realize it or not, this person or this family may be living right next door.
Don’t delay. Please don’t delay. I beg you.
Some one needs to experience the loving heart of God in action and know that there is Hope. Always.
London needed us.
Jillian needed us.
Who needs us now?
Some one needs to know that they are not alone…and this is why I wrote this post.